Nine Popular Nigerian banks have been suspended by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), yesterday, from further dealing in foreign exchange transactions, until they remit all outstanding Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), funds in their vaults into the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
According to a report by Vanguard, the nine banks were barred for concealing $2.12 billion belonging to the NNPC, and failing to remit the funds into the TSA as directed by the Federal Government.
The banks, which suspension would remain in force until they remit all the funds to the TSA, are;
1. United Bank for Africa (UBA) ($530m)
2. FirstBank of Nigeria (FBN) ($469m)
3. Diamond Bank Plc ($287m)
4. Sterling Bank Plc ($269m)
5. Skye Bank Plc ($221m)
6. Fidelity Bank ($209m)
7. Keystone Bank ($139m)
8. FCMB ($125m)
9. Heritage Bank ($85m).
The CBN officials said further disciplinary actions awaited the erring banks after remitting the funds in full to the government’s coffers.
It was learnt that CBN governor was in Lagos, yesterday, for a meetings with banks’ Managing Directors to brief them on the development.
It was further learned that at the meeting, issues were raised concerning some of the banks that were not listed but it was later learned that further investigations on their transactions were to be carried out.
The nine banks comprise three old generation banks and another six new generation banks.
A top Central Bank source confirmed to Channels Television on Tuesday, that President Muhammadu Buhari had been briefed on the matter and the sanctions to be imposed on the defaulting banks.
The nine banks which comprise of three tier-one lenders and another six tier-two deposit money banks, remain barred from foreign exchange operations until they fully remit the NNPC funds into government coffers via the Treasury Single Account, the apex bank said.
The TSA of the government was established in August 2015, with the government saying it would help check leakages in the system.
The apex bank’s decision to bar the banks comes two months after it released the highlights of the much awaited flexible foreign exchange market policy.